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News Releases
Oregon sees gains in access to HIV prevention, treatment medications - 12/06/17

December 6, 2017

*But too few Oregonians are getting tested, 'End HIV' progress report says*

Increased access to viral suppression medication that makes a person living with HIV less infectious, and to medication that prevents infection in the first place, are helping lay the groundwork for eliminating new transmissions in Oregon, according to a new report.

The End HIV Oregon Annual Progress Report was released Dec. 1--World AIDS Day--a year after the initiative's launch. It shows steady progress has been made in the last year toward its goal of stopping new HIV infections by 2021. But the report also shows not enough Oregonians are getting tested, which would help them know what prevention and treatment services they need.

The 2017 Progress Report is available at the End HIV Oregon website, https://www.endhivoregon.org/, under "Downloads" at the bottom of the main page.

The initiative is helping more people get antiretroviral medication that reduces their risk of sexually transmitting the disease. About 76 percent of people with HIV in Oregon are now virally suppressed due to programs such as CAREAssist, which helps pay insurance premiums and pharmacy co-pays, and saw a 5 percent increase in the number of clients it serves. An OHA-funded Multnomah County effort also expanded housing support to people with HIV. And program improvements make it easier for people to access and maintain HIV medical care, such as ensuring all Oregonians with HIV who earn up to 2.5 times the federal poverty limit are eligible for services that help them adhere to HIV medications.

End HIV Oregon also made advances since 2016 in HIV prevention through efforts to increase access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP. It beat its goal of adding 100 new medical providers to a PrEP provider directory to begin offering it to individuals most in need, such as partners of HIV-positive people, and men who have sex with men testing positive for syphilis. PrEP also is covered by the Oregon Health Plan.

An estimated one in four Portland-area men who have sex with men are believed to now be taking PrEP. In 2016 the number of providers prescribing PrEP or people taking it was not known.

"We've accomplished a lot in the last year with the help of community HIV service providers across the state, including getting more pre-exposure prophylaxis medication into the hands of individuals at greater risk, and making sure people living with HIV can access antiretroviral medication," says Sean Schafer, M.D., medical director for HIV programs at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. "But people need to know their HIV status, and testing does that."

In addition to a focus on testing, prevention and treatment, End HIV Oregon aims to ensure all people living with HIV have access to high-quality care, free from stigma and discrimination. OHA leads the effort, with partners that include the statewide Integrated HIV/Viral Hepatitis/STI Planning Group; Cascade AIDS Project; Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living; EMO HIV Day Center; HIV Alliance; public health departments in Clatsop, Deschutes, Lake, Lane, Malheur and Multnomah counties; Oregon Centers for Independent Living; Oregon AIDS Education and Training Center; Our House; Partnership Project; and Quest Center.

Strides have been made in testing. Six local public health departments were awarded funding to provide HIV early intervention services and outreach in 13 Oregon counties. In addition, OHA and the Oregon AIDS Education and Training Center, along with several major health systems, began working together to identify policies, procedures and tools to support routine HIV testing within health systems.

Still, only 35 percent of adult Oregonians have ever been tested for HIV. The goal: 100 percent.

"We can get to 100 percent, but we must double down on finding innovative ways to improve testing in the next four years," Schafer says.

For more information about End HIV Oregon, visit the program's website at https://www.endhivoregon.org/.

# # #

2017 Progress Report download: https://www.endhivoregon.org/s/OHA_ENDHIV_Collateral_2017ProgressReport.pdf

Health advisory lifted December 6 for Coffenbury Lake - 12/06/17

December 6, 2017

*Reduced blue-green algae, toxin levels confirmed; continued caution with pets advised*

The Oregon Health Authority has lifted a health advisory issued July 28 for Coffenbury Lake located at Fort Stevens State Park, about a half-mile from Northwest Ridge Road near Warrenton in Clatsop County.

Water monitoring has confirmed levels of blue-green algae and toxins they produce are below guideline values for human exposure. However, the Oregon Health Authority recommends that people continue to be cautious with their pets in the lake because toxins are still above the very low exposure levels established for dogs.

Oregon health officials advise recreational visitors to always be alert to signs of algae blooms in all waters, because blooms can develop and disappear throughout the season. Only a fraction of the many lakes and waterways in Oregon are monitored for blue-green algae by state, federal and local agencies. Therefore, you are your own best advocate when it comes to keeping yourself and your family safe.

People, and especially small children and pets, should avoid areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red in color, if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible in the water, or bright green cells are suspended in the water column. If you observe these signs in the water you are encouraged to avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets, such as swimming or high-speed water activities.

For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions about a news release, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. For information about advisories issued or lifted for the season, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Blooms website at http://healthoregon.org/hab and select "Algae Bloom Advisories."

# # #

Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee meets December 13 - 12/06/17

December 6, 2017

What: The quarterly public meeting of the Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee (HAIAC)

Agenda: Annual report; outbreaks update 2017; exemptions; data priorities; infection control guidance for animals in health care facilities; discussion; public comment

When: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 1-3 p.m. A 10-minute public comment period is scheduled at 2:50 p.m.; comments are limited to five minutes.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1B, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland. A conference call line is available at 877-873-8018, access code 7872333.

OHA provides oversight and support for the mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections in Oregon via the HAI program. The program convenes its advisory board on a quarterly basis; the purpose of the board is to make recommendations to OHA regarding infection measures reportable by health care facilities. More information is available on the program's website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DiseasesConditions/CommunicableDisease/HAI/Prevention/Pages/Meetings.aspx.

Program contact: Roza Tammer, 971-673-1074, roza.p.tammer@state.or.us

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use the Oregon Health Authority Programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:
· Sign language and spoken language interpreters
· Written material in other languages
· Braille
· Large print
· Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Roza Tammer at 971-637-1074, 711 TTY or roza.p.tammer@state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Resending: New survey shows 94 percent of Oregonians have health insurance - 12/05/17

Resending to correct Jeremy Vandehey's quote.

December 5, 2017

*Federal actions could reduce coverage, officials warn*

Nearly 94 percent of Oregonians have health insurance, according to a report released today by the Oregon Health Authority. The findings come from the biennial Oregon Health Insurance Survey, which asks people in 9,000 Oregon households about insurance coverage, access to care and health care use.

The survey, conducted between March and August of 2017, found that nearly 3.7 million Oregonians have health coverage. That's an increase of 10 percentage points since 2014 when the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate went into effect.

While levels of insurance coverage in Oregon remain stable since the previous survey in 2015, state officials expressed concern that recent federal changes jeopardize Oregon's ability to sustain current coverage rates.

This year the federal government shortened the open enrollment period for individual coverage by six weeks. In addition, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers approximately 120,000 children in the state.

"With less than two weeks left of open enrollment, now is the time for Oregonians to shop and enroll in 2018 health insurance before the Dec. 15 deadline," said Jean Straight, acting director of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. "This is the only chance for most individuals to enroll in health insurance for 2018 and missing the Dec. 15 deadline could lead to them being uninsured for all of 2018."

Jeremy Vandehey, acting director of health policy for the Oregon Health Authority, agrees with Straight's concerns.

"The percentage of people in Oregon with health insurance remains above the national average, but we worry that proposals at the federal level could significantly increase our uninsured rate or shift costs to Oregon and other states," Vandehey said. "One example of this is Congress' failure to renew federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. We are using state funds to continue CHIP coverage through April, but are counting on Congress to renew federal funding and prevent a disruption of care."

According to the Oregon Health Insurance survey released today, nearly half (47 percent) of Oregonians are covered by private group policies. More than one-quarter of Oregonians (26 percent) receive health coverage through the Oregon Health Plan, which includes Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment program. Another 15 percent have Medicare coverage; 5 percent have individual coverage and 6 percent are uninsured.

There was a decrease of 0.9 percentage points in the number of Oregonians who have health insurance from 2015 to 2017. The decrease is not statistically significant, and likely reflects changes in the way the data was collected and analyzed in 2017 versus earlier years. In 2017 the analytic team used a more sophisticated method of collecting and weighting the data, which likely represents a more accurate picture of the number of people insured in the state.

Other highlights of the 2017 Oregon Health Insurance Survey:

-- The proportion of Oregonians with gaps in health coverage remained the same from 2015-2017
-- Health insurance coverage differs by age
-- Younger adults are less likely to have coverage compared to older adults
-- About 88 percent of young adults in Oregon have health coverage

Read the full report on the Oregon Health Authority website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HPA/ANALYTICS/InsuranceData/2017-OHIS-Early-Release-Results.pdf.

Oregonians who need individual coverage have until December 15 to sign up for individual coverage through HealthCare.gov.

Oregonians who are eligible for Medicaid benefits can enroll anytime during the year through the OregONEligibility website at https://one.oregon.gov/.

# # #

Independent reviewers find CCO rate-setting process actuarially sound, unbiased - 12/04/17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 4, 2017

*Independent reviewers find CCO rate-setting process actuarially sound, unbiased*

SALEM--Medicaid experts from two independent firms have found the 2018 rates for Oregon's coordinated care organizations (CCOs) are sound, unbiased and generally consistent with state and federal rules. The state does not expect to change the 2018 rates Oregon pays CCOs to manage health services for more than 900,000 Oregonians who receive health coverage through the Oregon Health Plan. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) plans to discuss the results with CCOs this week before finalizing next steps.

Recently appointed OHA Director Patrick Allen engaged the firms to review the rate-setting process and answer questions from stakeholders and policymakers. The 2018 rates were recently submitted to the federal government in time for 2018 approval, and OHA reserved the ability to resubmit 2018 rates if the independent reviews indicated changes were needed.

The independent reviews do not recommend changes to the 2018 rates. However, both reviews suggest OHA provide more documentation to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to detail its rate development process. The firms also recommended that the agency provide more documentation about CCO loss ratios, profit margins and administrative costs. One review also recommends OHA address a potential outlier in a rate category for a southwest Oregon CCO.

OHA staff intend to implement the recommendations by filing an addendum to CMS that provides more documentation of the rate-setting process.

"We want OHP members, taxpayers and legislators to know if the CCO rate-setting process is sound or flawed," OHA Director Allen said. "These objective, third-party experts have given us the confidence to move forward and suggestions to improve the process."

OHA will meet with CCO leaders December 6 to discuss the results and proposed next steps. The agency will review feedback from CCOs and announce its final plans for the implementation of 2018 rates later this month.

OHA contracted with Lewis & Ellis, Inc., an independent Medicaid-qualified actuary, to review the current 2018 rate development methodology. The agency contracted with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, to review the 2018 rate development methodology against current CMS regulations and Oregon's 1115 waiver to validate compliance.

Reports available here:
"Medicaid Independent Review," Lewis and Ellis, Inc., November 30, 2017: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ERD/Documents/OHASecondaryReviewFinalReport.pdf
"Assessment of Process for Setting 2018 Rates for Coordinated Care Organizations," Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, November 30, 2017: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ERD/Documents/2018RegulatoryReviewOfRateSettingProcess_FINAL.PDF

# # #

UPDATE: OHA investigation of salmonella Newport cases linked to pre-cut fruit - 12/01/17

CORRECTION: WINCO STORES NOT INCLUDED IN OREGON'S INVESTIGATION OF SALMONELLOSIS CASES LINKED TO PRE-CUT FRUIT; NUMBER OF CASES IN WASHINGTON UPDATED

December 1, 2017

State health officials are investigating two cases of salmonellosis linked to a regional outbreak of the disease involving pre-cut melon sold at Oregon and Washington grocery stores.

The Oregon cases--one each in Multnomah and Wasco counties--appear to be connected to an outbreak of salmonella Newport infections that also involves 16 ill people in Washington. None of the Oregon cases were hospitalized.

Individuals who fell ill reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe or watermelon purchased at Kroger stores, including Fred Meyer and QFC, as well as Rosauers and Central Market stores in Oregon and Washington. Their symptoms occurred between Oct. 29 and Nov. 15.

The two Oregon cases reported purchasing products from Fred Meyer stores in Oregon. Federal regulatory officials are investigating to determine the origin of the Salmonella contamination. Meanwhile, public health officials in Oregon and Washington are advising people who purchased the products between Oct. 25 and Dec. 1 to immediately throw them away. Persons who ate the melon do not need to seek medical attention unless they become ill.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps one to three days after exposure. Salmonellosis is usually diagnosed by laboratory testing of a stool sample, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.

Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections can occur. Infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Each year, 400 to 500 cases of salmonellosis are reported in Oregon, including 15 cases of Salmonella Newport annually between 2006 and 2015. Testing of patients' Salmonella strains by Oregon and Washington State Public Health Laboratories indicated a common origin for the Salmonella Newport strains in this outbreak.

For more information about Salmonella, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/.

# # #

Oregon Cannabis Commission meets December 8 in Portland - 12/01/17

December 1, 2017

What: The first quarterly meeting of the Oregon Cannabis Commission as a newly established commission

Agenda: Presentation by the Oregon Department of Justice on commission ethics and communication; election of the chair; creation of bylaws; legislative report; meeting dates

When: Friday, Dec. 8, 1-3 p.m. There will be time allotted at the end of the meeting for public comment; comments are limited to three minutes.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1E (first floor), 800 NE Oregon St., Portland

Background: The Oregon Cannabis Commission was established in the 2017 legislative session though HB 2198. The commission consists of the state public health officer or the public health officer's designee, and an eight-member panel appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The commission is tasked with determining: a possible framework for future governance of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program; steps to address research on cannabis in areas of public health policy and public safety policy; agronomic and horticultural best practices; and medical and pharmacopoeia best practices. Along with this, it will advise the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission on statutes governing medical and retail cannabis.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:
· Sign language and spoken language interpreters
· Written material in other languages
· Braille
· Large print
· Audio and other formats
If you need help or have questions, please contact Shannon McFadden at 971-673-3181, 711 TTY or shannon.m.mcfadden@state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Oregon Health Authority responds to Secretary of State's audit - 11/29/17

November 29, 2017

*Director Patrick Allen, Chief Financial Officer Laura Robison available to media today*

SALEM--The Oregon Health Authority has issued the following statement regarding the Secretary of State's audit report released today:

"The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) welcomes the Secretary of State's audit and its purpose to identify areas for improvement related to Medicaid payments. We look forward to implementing each recommendation from the audit team, and you can read about our detailed plans in our management response. One of OHA's most vital roles is to provide health coverage to vulnerable children and adults through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). We see audits as an important tool to provide an outside point of view, strengthen our operations, and help us continue to fulfill our mission to OHP members and state taxpayers.

"The audit recognizes several existing, effective processes within OHA and includes several recommendations for improvement. While we agree with the final recommendations and have already begun implementing some of them, we do not agree with some of the audit team's estimates, underlying assumptions, and conclusions about Medicaid payments.

"For example:
-- We dispute the characterization of $88 million in payments to provide health coverage for 115,000 vulnerable children and adults as "avoidable." (In the wake of the Cover Oregon failure, federal officials approved delaying their eligibility renewals and were regularly briefed on Oregon's progress to renew them.)
-- We do not agree with the conclusion that the audit identified 31,300 "questionable" payments. A sample check of 2,700 of the transactions showed that more than 98 percent of these payments were appropriately paid.

"These and other points, are explained in more detail in the attached OHA response to the audit, which is available on the OHA website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Documents/OHA_Response_To_SOS_Medicaid_Payment_Audit.pdf.

"We appreciate the audit's recognition of Medicaid's complexity and scale:
-- The $88 million in "avoidable" state and federal expenses, as identified by the audit team, accounts for less than 1 percent of Oregon's annual $9.3 billion Medicaid budget.
-- The 31,300 "questionable" payments in the audit represent 0.06 percent of the more than 52 million payments OHA processes in a 15-month period.
-- The audit noted that the fee-for-service error rate in Oregon's Medicaid program (9 percent) is below the national average.

"While OHA has successfully expanded health coverage to more than 400,000 Oregonians and saved taxpayers $1.3 billion in health care costs, the effort to meet these challenges (as well as respond to the Cover Oregon failure) has not allowed us to build a foundation of consistent operational rigor and accountability in our Medicaid operations.

"We can do better. We are making changes to improve the accuracy and transparency of our programs:
-- A formal issues resolution process to identify, scope and solve operational problems in our Medicaid program.
-- A monitoring process to keep annual Medicaid eligibility renewals on track and ensure the ONE eligibility technology system continues to deliver more accurate and reliable results.
-- Adding staff capacity to strengthen our ability to hold providers and coordinated care organizations accountable and audit medical claims.

"These efforts will build on existing, effective tools the agency already uses for program integrity. We look forward to reporting on our progress to implement the recommendations of the audit and continue to improve our business practices."

-- Laura Robison, chief financial officer, OHA

OHA Director Patrick Allen and Robison will be available to take media questions regarding the audit at 12:30 p.m. today in Room 137 D of the Barbara Roberts Human Services Building, 500 Summer St. NE, in Salem.

Members of the media who plan to attend or need more information can contact strategic communications officer Saerom England at saerom.y.england@state.or.us or 971-239-6483.

# # #

State Health Assessment Steering Committee meets November 30 in Portland - 11/22/17

November 22, 2017

What: The third and final meeting of the State Health Assessment Steering Committee

Agenda: Reports from Themes & Strengths Assessment Subcommittee, and Health Status Assessment Subcommittee; develop key findings; provide recommendation on outline and layout of the State Health Assessment.

When: Thursday, Nov. 30, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. A 10-minute public comment period will be held at 1:40 p.m.; comments are limited to three minutes.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 918, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland. You may join the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/137894534904412675

Background: Oregon's revised State Health Assessment is one of three prerequisites for public health accreditation. The assessment describes the health of the population, identifies areas for improvement, contributing factors that affect health outcomes, and assets and resources that can be mobilized to improve population health.

-- Health departments are required to participate in or lead an assessment process at least once every five years. This assessment will inform the next version of the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). Read more about the SHIP at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Pages/HealthImprovement.aspx.

-- The Public Health Division will use the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) framework, widely used by CCOs and local health departments. The MAPP framework uses six phases. The SHA is developed over the first three phases, while the SHIP is implemented over the second three phases. Get more details on the SHA Overview (pdf) at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Documents/sha/State-Health-Assessment-overview.pdf.

-- The last State Health Assessment was completed in 2012 and consisted of the Public Health Division System Assessment (pdf) which is available at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Documents/ph-system-assessment-report.pdf, and the State Health Profile (pdf), at http://www.oregon.gov/OHA/PH/ABOUT/Documents/oregon-state-health-profile.pdf. 

-- The State Health Assessment is available at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Pages/state-health-assessment.aspx

Program contact: Christy Hudson, 971-673-2284, christy.j.hudson@state.or.us.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

· Sign language and spoken language interpreters
· Written materials in other languages
· Braille
· Large print
· Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact: Christy Hudson at 971-673-2284, 711 TTY, or christy.j.hudson@state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Oregon Health Policy Board to meet December 5 in Portland - 11/22/17

November 22, 2017

What: The monthly public meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board

When: Tuesday, December 5, 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Where: OHSU Center for Health & Healing, 3303 SW Bond Ave, third floor Room 4. Members of the public can call in to listen by dialing 888-808-6929, participant code 915042#.

Agenda: OHA Director's report; OHPB committee updates; Healthcare Workforce Committee updates and promising strategies; Public Health Advisory Board updates; High Cost Drugs Committee development; CCO Maturity Assessment discussion.

For more information on the meeting, visit the board's meeting page at http://www.oregon.gov/OHA/OHPB/Pages/OHPB-Meetings.aspx.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:
· Sign language and spoken language interpreters
· Written materials in other languages
· Braille
· Large print
· Audio and other formats
If you need help or have questions, please contact Jeff Scroggin at 541-999-6983, 711 TTY, or jeffrey.scroggin@state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Need a good holiday meal discussion topic? Try family health history - 11/22/17

November 22, 2017

*Oregonians encouraged to talk about chronic diseases that can run in families*

For some people, preparing for the Thanksgiving meal means getting ready to debate politics, endure a relative's relationship advice or defend your pick for the best "Game of Thrones" episode.

The Oregon Health Authority suggests another dinner table discussion topic this holiday season: family health history.

The U.S. Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving "Family Health History Day" to help focus attention on the importance of family health history and the role genetics plays in overall health. Common diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as rare diseases like hemophilia and cystic fibrosis, tend to run in families, and Thanksgiving is a good time to raise the subject when everyone--including many people you don't see but once a year--is in the room.

"Family health history is often called the first genetic test. It can help people, their families and clinicians see potential risks and take action to reduce those risks or catch a disease early," said Summer Cox, genetics coordinator in the OHA ScreenWise program.

OHA offers the following tips for discussing family health history:
--Start with your parents: Close relatives such as parents and siblings are the most telling when it comes to your health history. Start with them and branch out from there.
--Use free online tools and resources:
----My Family Health Portrait at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/FHH/html/index.html
----Does It Run In the Family? at http://www.geneticalliance.org/publications/fhhtoolkit
----The Talk Health History Campaign at http://www.talkhealthhistory.org/
--Talk to a doctor or genetic counselor: Make your family health history a topic of conversation at your next doctor's appointments. If you have concerns, asked to be referred to a genetic counselor.

OHA also offers genetic information and counseling through the ScreenWise program at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HealthyPeopleFamilies/Women/HealthScreening/Pages/Index.aspx. The program supports a statewide network of providers in offering breast and cervical cancer, cardiovascular and genetic screening for uninsured and underinsured patients.

Information on patient eligibility for the ScreenWise program is available on the OHA website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYPEOPLEFAMILIES/WOMEN/HEALTHSCREENING/Documents/ELIG_SW_Checklist_FY17.pdf.

For further guidance and screening, contact 211 at http://211info.org/.

# # #

Oregon to continue health coverage for kids despite Congress' failure to renew funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program - 11/21/17

November 21, 2017

In response to a letter from Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority will continue health coverage for 80,000 children and 1,700 pregnant women who rely on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for vital health services such as prescriptions, doctor's visits, preventive care and emergency care.

Congress failed to renew funding for the program in September, but Oregon secured $51 million in one-time left over CHIP funds to last through December. After that the state runs out of money to cover children on CHIP.

OHA notified the Governor's office that because Congress hadn't acted, many Oregon children could lose their health benefits at the end of the year.

In her letter, the Governor asked OHA to work with its coordinated care organization partners to extend coverage through the end of April even if that means creating a shortfall in the state's budget to fund the program.

"These kids are from vulnerable families and they rely on CHIP to pay for vital medical care," said Patrick Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority. "It would be a tragedy for them to lose coverage or have an interruption in coverage because Congress has failed to act."

CHIP covers children from low- and middle-income families whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid but who may struggle to afford to buy coverage in the marketplace.

Currently 120,000 Oregon children and 1,700 pregnant women rely on the federally funded program.

Under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Oregon must continue to cover 40,000 children in the program whose families meet the federal Medicaid income guidelines. Eighty-thousand children whose family income exceeds those guidelines are in danger of losing coverage if Congress does not act.

OHA has asked the coordinated care organizations to continue coverage for these kids through April.

CHIP funding has been an integral part of Oregon's health transformation effort, which includes providing coverage for all Oregon kids. Ninety-eight percent of children in the state have health insurance.

Watch a video featuring a family that was helped by the CHIP program.

# # #

Links:

Governor Kate Brown's letter: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cO4Oy2eB8Bq9KaueY49Kap4QnQIXuU6H/view?usp=sharing

Video of a family that was helped by CHIP: http://www.95percentoregon.com/feature-stories.html

Health advisory lifted November 17 for all of Upper Klamath Lake - 11/17/17

November 17, 2017

*Reduced blue-green algae, toxin levels confirmed; continued caution with pets advised*

The Oregon Health Authority has lifted the health advisory issued July 28 for Howard Bay and updated September 1 to include all of Upper Klamath Lake, located northwest of Klamath Falls in Klamath County.

Water monitoring has confirmed levels of blue-green algae and the toxins they produce are below guideline values for human exposure. However, OHA officials recommend people continue to be cautious about allowing pets in the lake because blooms can develop and disappear throughout the season. Federal, state and local agencies are able to monitor only a fraction of Oregon's lakes and waterways for blue-green algae, so people should be their own best advocates when it comes to keeping themselves, their families and their pets safe.

People, and especially small children and pets, should avoid areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red in color, if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible in the water, or bright green cells are suspended in the water column. If you observe these signs in the water, avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets, such as swimming or high-speed water activities.

For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions about a news release, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. For information about advisories issued or lifted for the season, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Blooms website at http://healthoregon.org/hab and select "Algae Bloom Advisories."

# # #

Public Health Advisory Board Accountability Metrics Subcommittee meets November 22 by webinar - 11/16/17

November 16, 2017

What: A public meeting of the Accountability Metrics Subcommittee of the Public Health Advisory Board

Agenda: Approve October meeting minutes; discuss process measures for effective contraceptive use; hear concept for how benchmarks will be set.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 1-2 p.m. A public comment period is offered at the end of the meeting.

Where: This meeting is by webinar only. The public may join the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5150607625475124481 and by calling the conference line at 877-873-8017, access code 767068#.

Oregon's Public Health Advisory Board provides guidance for Oregon's governmental public health system and oversees the implementation of public health modernization and Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan. The Accountability Metrics Subcommittee develops recommendations about public health quality measures for consideration by the board.

For more information, see the board's website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/About/Pages/ophab.aspx.

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Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:
· Sign language and spoken language interpreters
· Written materials in other languages
· Braille
· Large print
· Audio and other formats
If you need help or have questions, please contact: Sara Beaudrault at 971-645-5766, 711 TTY, or sara.beaudrault@state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

OHA accepting applications for Public Health Advisory Board - 11/16/17

November 16, 2017

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division is seeking applicants for the state Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB)

OHA invites applications from people who represent coordinated care organizations. This position serves a four-year term that begins Jan. 1, 2018. Board members are appointed by the Governor.

To apply, submit the following documentation to executive.appointments@oregon.gov by Dec. 1:
1. A completed executive appointment interest form, which is available on the Governor's Office website at http://www.oregon.gov/gov/admin/Pages/How_To_Apply.aspx.
2. A resume or brief biographical sketch.
3. A brief statement of interest.

Information about the Public Health Advisory Board is available on the board's website at http://www.healthoregon.org/phab.

For more information, contact Cara Biddlecom, OHA Public Health Division, at 971-673-2284 or cara.m.biddlecom@state.or.us.

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Metrics and Scoring Committee to meet November 17 in Wilsonville - 11/15/17

November 15, 2017

Contact: Melisa Otrugman, 503-689-5238, melisa.z.otrugman@state.or.us (meeting information or accommodation)

What: A public meeting of the Oregon Health Authority Metrics and Scoring Committee

When: Friday, November 17, 9 a.m. to noon. Public testimony will be heard at 9:15 a.m.

Where: Clackamas Community College Wilsonville Training Center, Room 210, 29353 SW Town Center Loop E, Wilsonville

Attendees can also follow the presentation by webinar and listen to discussion by phone. Register for the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/312837825839229954 and call the conference line at 888-204-5984, participant code 1277-166. The telephone will be unmuted during public testimony.

Agenda: Welcome, consent agenda and updates; public testimony; Health Plan Quality Metrics Committee debrief; health aspects of kindergarten readiness; 2019 work plan; adjourn.

For more information, please visit the committee's website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/hpa/analytics/Pages/Metrics-Scoring-Committee.aspx.

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Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:
* Sign language and spoken language interpreters
* Written materials in other languages
* Braille
* Large print
* Audio and other formats
If you need help or have questions, please contact Melisa Otrugman at 503-689-5238, 711 TTY, melisa.z.otrugman@state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Antibiotics still frequently--and inappropriately--used for viruses - 11/15/17

November 15, 2017

*But OHA physician says their unnecessary use has been on decline since '08*

Unnecessary use of antibiotics on viruses, which can lead to dangerous antibiotic resistance, is on the decline. Work still needs to be done in Oregon to discourage inappropriate prescribing of these drugs for non-bacterial illnesses, state officials say.

Overall, antibiotic prescriptions for oral medications used in outpatient settings have been steadily dropping in Oregon since 2008, when OHA first recruited Oregon health insurers to voluntarily provide data on their annual numbers of prescriptions. Between 2008 and 2016, annual rates of prescriptions for oral antibiotics fell 32 percent, and a 5 percent drop was seen between 2015 and 2016, said Ann Thomas, MD, public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division.

But Oregon clinicians are still over-prescribing for some conditions such as bronchitis, which is due to a virus in a majority of cases and rarely requires antibiotics, said Thomas, medical director of OHA's Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE). In 55 percent of bronchitis cases in Oregon in 2014, patients filled a prescription that likely was unnecessary. Worse still, 90 percent of the patients who filled an antibiotic prescription for bronchitis got a broad-spectrum drug, meaning that it attacks a wide range of different bacteria, increasing the risk of developing resistance among several types of bacteria.

"Broad-spectrum antibiotics are often used for infections that don't require treatment in the first place, so it's always perplexing to see them prescribed for conditions like bronchitis and the common cold," Thomas said.

Nov. 13-19 is "U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week," an annual national observance to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance, and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use. During the observance, AWARE reminds consumers about the dangers of unnecessary antibiotics for viral respiratory infections.

Antimicrobial resistance continues to pose serious health threats. At least 2 million people annually acquire serious infections--and 23,000 of them die--from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States. Outpatient settings in the U.S. are home to more than 60 percent of national antibiotic-resistant expenditures. Respiratory conditions, including many where antibiotics are not appropriate, remain the most common diagnoses leading to antibiotic prescriptions in children and adults.

Oregon AWARE is providing educational materials and technical assistance to HealthInsight, Oregon's Medicare quality improvement organization, as part of its Get Smart initiative to reduce inappropriate prescribing in clinics and other outpatient facilities in four states (the others are Utah, New Mexico and Nevada). In Oregon, about 200 facilities are participating and will use multiple quality improvement strategies to reduce prescribing.

"This is a critical time for providers and stakeholders to join together to preserve the power of antibiotics," says Nicole O'Kane, PharmD, HealthInsight's clinical director.

An information sheet with provider resources is available from HealthInsight at http://healthinsight.org/files/Outpatient%20Antibiotic%20Stewardship/Abx-Awareness-Week-2017-info-508.pdf.

When antibiotics are used for viral infections, such as colds and bronchitis, it can lead to resistant bacteria and dangerous side effects, such as diarrhea and vomiting, and they can be deadly if someone experiences an allergic reaction.

Consumers should avoiding asking their health care providers to prescribe antibiotics for colds and the flu, and question their provider if they really need antibiotics when prescribed. Consumers who receive appropriately prescribed antibiotics for bacterial infections, however, should take every dose, even if symptoms improve, since not doing so contributes to drug resistance. And they should not share antibiotics with others, since individuals taking antibiotics not prescribed to them can experience adverse reactions.

As part of its ongoing effort to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in Oregon, AWARE, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, works to change Oregon clinicians' prescribing habits.

To learn more about Oregon AWARE, visit the AWARE website at http://healthoregon.org/aware. For information about the CDC's "U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week," visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/week/index.html. The 2016 "Antibiotic Prescribing in Outpatient Settings in Oregon" report is available online at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/DiseasesConditions/CommunicableDisease/AntibioticResistance/Documents/Oregon_Outpatient_Antibiotic_Prescribing_Report.pdf.

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Metrics Technical Advisory Group to meet November 16 in Portland and by webinar - 11/15/17

November 15, 2017

Contact: Melisa Otrugman, 503-689-5238, melisa.z.otrugman@state.or.us (meeting information or accommodation)

What: A public meeting of the Oregon Health Authority Metrics Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

When: Thursday, Nov. 16, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Building, eighth floor (Mary Conference Room), 421 SW Oak St., Portland

The public also can attend remotely through a webinar and conference call. Join the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/3481507190725738756 and call in to listen at 888-848-7030, participant code 695-684.

Agenda: Welcome and introductions; updates; electronic health record-sourced measures; review 2017 smoking cessation survey; TAG input on coordinated care organization metric guidance documents; 2018 TAG work plan; wrap up and adjourn.

For more information, please visit the committee's website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HPA/ANALYTICS/Pages/Metrics-Technical-Advisory-Group.aspx

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Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:
* Sign language and spoken language interpreters
* Written materials in other languages
* Braille
* Large print
* Audio and other formats
If you need help or have questions, please contact Melisa Otrugman at 503-689-5238, 711 TTY, melisa.z.otrugman@state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting.